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Beyond the State of the Union, We Must Confront the State of the Genocide

In the aftermath of Biden’s 2024 State of the Union, we offer an alternate address: “The State of the Genocide.”

Ari Bloomekatz and Eman Abdelhadi offer their alternative "State of the Genocide" address on March 7 in Chicago at a 24-hour vigil and protest that occurred during President Biden's State of the Union address.

Part of the Series

President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union address Thursday night as a majority of Americans maintain that the genocide in Gaza needs to immediately end and a new “uncommitted” movement is sweeping the nation and has become the biggest story of the 2024 presidential primaries.

Biden briefly mentioned the more than 30,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza during his address but offered Israel no rebuke for its genocide and its destruction of almost all of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. He made no attempt to condition aid or weapons sales to Israel. He neglected to call for a ceasefire, for an end to occupation and apartheid, or for Palestinian liberation. Instead, he repeated platitudes about humanitarian aid and stale promises of a two-state solution.

The idea that a temporary port will provide any solutions is symbolic of the woeful inadequacy of Biden’s approach to the genocide, which has been marked by his efforts to fund, fuel, arm and enable the Israeli military’s assault on Gaza.

Biden and the overwhelmingly complicit U.S. Congress have been the focus of many of the protests against the genocide, because Israel’s violence is enabled by unchecked military and political support from the United States. Right before the State of the Union, protesters in D.C. blocked traffic outside the White House with the aim of blocking the presidential motorcade (quite likely the reason for the delayed start of the address), and in Chicago a broad coalition came together for a 24-hour vigil where the names of Palestinians killed since October 7 were continuously read.

One part of that vigil and demonstration, which was sponsored by antiwar groups including Jewish Voice for Peace, U.S. Palestinian Community Network, IfNotNow, CORE (Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators), Dissenters, American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Educators for Palestine, Jewish Fast for Gaza and Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, among many other groups, was an alternate State of the Union: “The State of the Genocide.”

A lightly edited and adapted version of that address is shared below.

A broad coalition came together for a 24-hour vigil on March 7 in Chicago, where the names of Palestinians killed since October 7 were continuously read.
A broad coalition came together for a 24-hour vigil on March 7 in Chicago, where the names of Palestinians killed since October 7 were continuously read.

The State of the Genocide: An Alternate Address

Mr. Speaker — Mike Johnson — you tried to overturn the 2020 election. You do not believe even in the feeble version of democracy that rules this country. You attack the most vulnerable members of our society at every turn. You represent hate and speak only for haters.

Madam Vice President — Kamala Harris — we see through your opportunistic calls for a ceasefire that lasts only six weeks. There can be no sunset to peace, no expiration on justice.

Our Second Gentleman — Douglas Emhoff — do you really think impassioned college students are a larger threat to Jews than an Israeli government that, in the name of Jews, kills children for sport?

Members of Congress and the Cabinet — your pressed suits and performative respectability cannot hide your vicious cruelty. When a small fraction of your colleagues — mostly women of color — cried out against the atrocities (their pain rooted in a deep belief in shared humanity) and demanded we see humans as humans, you responded by marginalizing them.

Leaders of our military — you are our masters of war and, indeed, you have fastened all the triggers for the Israeli military to fire.

Our fellow Americans, our comrades, our people — our message is for you: We have work to do.

Our elected officials have abdicated their responsibilities. They do not care that we want peace, that we want justice, that we abhor murder, that we will not stand for genocide.

Our fellow Americans, we are facing an election in which millions of people are declaring themselves “uncommitted” — an apparition conjured into the primaries by voters who do not know where else to turn.

President Biden, did you feel the spirit of the “uncommitted” with you in the U.S. Capitol as you gave your own State of the Union address? One hundred thousand voters in Michigan, 88,000 exasperated voters in North Carolina, 46,000 Minnesota voters are showing they are desperate for an end to this path of death stacked on top of death.

Our fellow Americans, the current State of the Union is the State of the Genocide.

For over 150 long days and nights, the United States of America has enacted a genocide.

Dollar after dollar, we have funded a genocide.

Bomb after bomb, we have armed a genocide.

Veto after veto, we have protected a genocide.

Make no mistake. The genocide in Gaza is not a faraway foreign policy issue. Not with nearly $4 billion a year going to the Israeli military. Not with President Biden trying to give over $14 billion more. Not with Biden sneaking around oversight to send gigantic bombs for the Israeli military to drop on crowds of civilians. Not with three Palestinian students shot in Burlington, Vermont. Not with 6-year-old Wadea al-Fayoume brutally murdered by a white supremacist in a Chicago suburb.

No, the genocide in Gaza is an American project.

The genocide in Gaza would not be happening without the active support of our elected officials. Most U.S. senators support and enable this genocide. President Biden actively supports this genocide.

They have supported the slaughter, in cold blood, of more than 30,000 Palestinians. The slaughter in cold blood of 13,500 children. Of 12,000 women. They have actively helped wound 70,000 more people. They have aided and abetted the destruction of nearly every home in Gaza. The systematic and deliberate destruction of libraries, universities, archives, mosques, hospitals, schools, and so much more.

They are currently overseeing the starvation of Gaza. The 17-year siege on Gaza that the United States enabled and protected has made this moment possible: a moment where every entry point of food, water and fuel is controlled by Israel. The same Israeli officials who have openly declared their intent to ethnically cleanse Gaza — that dehumanize Palestinians as “human animals” — now reap the rewards of the U.S.’s unconditional support.

They can stop food, medicine, water and fuel from entering the Strip — and that’s exactly what they are doing. Meanwhile, President Biden’s milquetoast gestures at humanitarian aid do not absolve him from enabling the genocide that makes that aid so necessary.

Just a few days ago, in what is now known as the Flour Massacre, Israeli soldiers opened fire on hundreds of besieged and hungry Gazans, killing 118 for the crime of simply trying to survive.

And make no mistake. The genocide in Gaza is not a problem without a solution. It is not a problem too complicated or too intractable to solve. It would have ended months ago if our elected officials had been doing their jobs — if they had listened to us.

Our politicians have supported this genocide against the will of the American people.

Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans want a permanent ceasefire. We have risen up in one of the largest social and antiwar movements in American history to say that this is not who we are, that our values align with celebrating life, not cheerleading death.

We have flooded the streets, jammed the phone lines and inboxes of our leaders. We have issued condemnations from every corner of civil society, using every platform we can possibly conceive.

We have marched, we have occupied, we have cried and screamed. We have tried to reason and educate. And yet, the people who are supposed to represent our interests ignore us.

And instead of listening to us, our leaders have followed a familiar playbook — investing in power, money and bloodshed at the expense of humanity.

As of January, half of Americans could not afford their rent and a record number of Americans are now unhoused.

We are drowning — drowning in medical debt, in credit card debt, in student debt.

Yet our elected officials send the money earned from our labor to fuel a genocide rather than solve any of these problems. No one in Washington, we are told, can agree on anything — until it’s time to send 2,000-ton bombs to Israel.

The ruling class has chosen death over life. And when that happens, the State of the Union is the State of the Genocide. Our fellow Americans, there can be no confusion, this genocide is ours. It is U.S.-made through and through.

We recognize it because it harkens to the ongoing genocide on which this country was founded, to the slavery on which it was built, to the continued exploitation of immigrants and the working class to keep it running — on the principle of profit over people that continues to rule these lands.

Our elected leaders represent not our interests, but the interests of the pharmaceutical companies, the insurance companies, the developers, the weapons manufacturers and the war profiteers. We are here to draw a curtain on the theater of blood they have constructed for us.

This genocide is ours — but it is also ours to stop.

Today, we say no more. We are done.

We demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

We demand the end of military aid to Israel.

We demand our government wield its power to stop the killing and immediately secure the free passage of food, water and medical supplies to Gaza.

We demand the restoration of free movement for Gazans on their own land.

We demand a free Palestine.

We will not stop marching, protesting, blockading, screaming until we get these demands.

We are done listening to presidential rhetoric that only serves to obfuscate what is a very simple solution to the genocide: that the Israeli military stop killing Palestinians, that not one more Palestinian is murdered, that not one more parent will have to bury their child — that the genocide must stop, immediately.

Our fellow Americans, join us in resistance. As state militaries, defense contractors, governments and morally bankrupt corporations prioritize profits over liberation and death over life, join us in building a better world, a world where Palestinians and all oppressed peoples are free.

And to this bloodthirsty ruling class, we remain — and will always remain — uncommitted.

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